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New Double-Deck Elevators Needed for Skyscrapers

Burj Khalifa

Otis Elevator Company is working on a new double-deck elevator design that will travel the world’s tallest buildings. Not only do they need to figure out how this will be done, they need to figure how to ensure these beefed up 16 metric ton elevators do not plummet if something goes wrong.

New skyscrapers in China and Saudi Arabia are looking to surpass Dubai’s record 2,717 foot Burj Khalifa building. These new high rises also challenge leading elevator companies like Otis to create new elevators that can travel these ginormous buildings. The market for big money elevators should increase in 2013, as 24 skyscrapers over 1,000 feet tall are expected to be built this year.

The elevators made for smaller structures will not be able to handle the heights of the new super buildings. Engineers are responding to the task with new double-deck cars that can serve two floors at a time and by coordinating the elevator traffic with computers. The demand for these new elevators will heElevatorlp the global elevator market reach an estimated $90 billion annually.

Otis used a similar double-deck elevator car design for the Burj Khalifa, which was finished in 2010. The system used a computerized dispatch system and polyurethane-coated belts instead of steel ropes, which eliminated the need for an engine room. To reach the new heights proposed by China and Saudi Arabia, Otis plans on upgrading the braking system for the Gen2 lifts used in Dubai.

The challenge of creating a brake system for an elevator that can reach such heights comes from the speeds a potential falling car could reach. If one of the cars were to plummet, it could reach speeds of up to 45 mph. Trying to stop a car of that weight at that speed would generate a serious amount of heat, as much as 572 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare for the challenge that awaits them, Otis strengthened its test tower in Bristol, Connecticut. The company needs to test a system that can work in a 3,000 foot building, without a 3,000 foot building.

Otis will compete with Kone, another world leader in elevators, to win the bid on Saudi Arabia’s new 3,000 foot tower. The competition should help facilitate for the creation of the best elevator technology we have seen in years.

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